Day Four: Scottsburg, Indiana to Falmouth, Kentucky - Forgotten Tour - CycleBlaze

April 18, 2016

Day Four: Scottsburg, Indiana to Falmouth, Kentucky

I don't recall any difficulties getting out of Scottsburg in the morning; soon I was on pleasant country roads for 25 or so miles until I reached the outskirts of Madison, population 11,813.

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I looked around Madison, which was a very attractive river town. I'd liked to have spent more time there, but I had to cover a lot of miles if I was going to reach my hometown, Flemingsburg, today.

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Crossing the Ohio River was easy at Madison. There was a new bridge with a separated pedestrian lane. A sign said to walk bikes, so I did that part of the way, until I met a guy walking across the river who told me that no one would mind if I rode across. We talked for a few minutes, and he offered to take my picture.

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The small town across the river from Madison, Milton (population 597) didn't have much going on, and seemed a little shabby - certainly compared to pretty Madison. There was a Dairy Queen just at the end of the bridge, and I stopped there. It was an old-fashioned DQ: Originally just a walk-up window, with no inside seating, but the walk-up area had been covered, with picnic tables to sit at.

I sat there for a while with the workingmen who were the other patrons, and studied the map on my phone. I was really winging it now. It looked like the only reasonable way to get closer to my destination was to take KY-36, which hugged the river all the way to Carrollton for about twelve miles.

I did that and immediately regretted it - it was very busy with lots of truck traffic and no shoulder. I gritted my teeth until I reached Carrollton, where I stopped in the town square and figured out where I was going next.

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Carrollton, population 3,811, is sadly known for a terrible tragedy: A horrific school bus crash in the area in 1988, in which 27 people, mostly teenagers, were killed when a drunk driver collided with the bus and set it on fire. I think most Kentuckians of a certain age, like me, remember this very well.  The drunk driver, Larry Mahoney, survived with minor injuries and served ten years in prison. After he was released he apparently moved back to the Carrollton area and lived in self-imposed exile in the countryside not far from the crash site. As far as I know he never publicly commented on the crash. It's hard to understand how Mahoney could live with himself after killing 27 people and badly disfiguring some of the survivors who suffered terrible burns. I've occasionally pondered this over the years.

I was happy to get away from Carrollton, and my now-gloomy thoughts, and rode out of town on nice, low-traffic country roads.

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I stopped in the small towns of Sanders and Sparta briefly, but didn't see much of interest. I was pretty sure by now that I could not get to Flemingsburg before dark - especially since I was stopping frequently to figure out my route.

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Traffic started to pick up in Glencoe, population 360. It was the beginning of afternoon commute time.

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This was early 2016, when I still considered the possibility of a Trump presidency remote indeed, and basically a big joke. I'm sure that's what I was thinking when I took this photo:

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I don't recall much about the fifteen miles or so from Glencoe to Dry Ridge, population 1,995, but by the time I arrived there, I remember that traffic had become horrible. I pulled off into a parking lot and looked at the map on my phone as cars whizzed by. I considered calling my mother to come pick me up, but it would be along drive in unfamiliar territory for her. I decided I had to get closer to her place before I gave up and called for a ride.

I got back on the road and for the next ten miles endured some memorably terrible traffic. These were rural roads which I suspect would have been virtually empty during the middle of the day, but which now, during the evening commute, were very busy with people anxious to get home.

Traffic eventually thinned out after ten miles, though. I was in some hilly country by now, mostly up on ridges, as the sun started to go down.

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I got lost once, but happened upon a man walking along the lonely road. Surprisingly, he didn't seem to think it was odd to encounter a guy on a touring bicycle who clearly had no idea where he was, and he gave me some mercifully accurate directions. Shadows were getting longer now, and I was ready to be done for the day.

I'd called my mom earlier and arranged for her to meet me in Falmouth, population 2,169.

It was long, steep descent to Falmouth, where I stopped at McDonald's and waited for mom, who arrived eventually and drove me to Flemingsburg.

And that was the anticlimactic end to this little tour.

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Today's ride: 102 miles (164 km)
Total: 388 miles (624 km)

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